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Auction of Titanic items raises £300,000
A bag belonging to the last living Titanic survivor and flask that once contained hot milk for lifeboat passengers, were among memorabilia from the disaster which fetched around £300,000 at auction yesterday.
Millvina Dean, 97, who was lowered from the deck of the sinking ship as a two-month-old baby, put her treasured items up for sale to pay for her nursing home fees.
A canvas mailbag stencilled I.S. New York, used to carry the family's belongings back from New York after the tragedy, and a collection of her Titanic-related photographs, together raised £5,000.
The money will go towards the care of Mrs Dean, who lives in Southampton.
Even though the photographs are recent - many of them simply picturing her at conventions - their value comes through her role as living history, auctioneer Andrew Aldridge explained.
''It is the association,'' said Mr Aldridge, who conducted the sale in Devizes, Wiltshire today. ''A Manchester United shirt might be worth £40, but if it's been worn by Christiano Ronaldo could then be worth £4,000.
''Because these things have been owned by her they become valuable items. This sale will help her.''
The Titanic sank in the Atlantic in 1912 with the loss of 1,517 lives. Miss Dean's father Bertram was among the victims.
Her possessions went under the hammer at a sale of nautical memorabilia by family auction firm Henry Aldridge in Devizes, Wiltshire.
A large collection owned by another passenger Barbara Dainton-West, who was only ten months old when the Titanic sank, made £60,000.
She was one of the final survivors of the Titanic disaster when she passed away in October 2007.
She set sail aboard Titanic with her parents Edwy and Ada and sister Constance Joyce on April 10, 1912. They were going to start a new life in the US after living in Bournemouth.
Among her lots was a treasured flask which was handed to her mother in a lifeboat, full of hot milk.
A hefty key to a door on the ship's E deck made £60,000 and was sold to a collector.
A letter from First Class passenger Adolf Saalfeld - the first letter to be sent from a paying passenger - fetched £30,000.
It reads: ''I just had an hour's roaming about on this wonderful boat. I like my cabin very much-its like a bed-sitting room and rather large. I am the first man to write a letter on board. They are still busy to finish the last things on board''.
A letter by Chief Officer Henry Wilde made £26,000, and a launch ticket made £23,000.
Summing up the appeal of Titanic items Mr Aldridge said: ''The enduring interest is in the 2,200 passengers. Every single one of them had a story to tell.''